“TheCeļotājs” –
Saldus – a "Drop of Honey" in Courland
Saldus Saint John’s Evangelic Lutheran Church – ANNO 1615 –
Kuldigas iela 2,
Lat: N56.66664, Lon: E022.49289
Saldus Saint John’s Church can certainly be considered as the foundation and symbol of the town. It is considered to be the oldest building in Saldus however the original structure has not been preserved. The inscription on the church tower ANNO 1737 attests to the age of the church.
Evangelical Lutheranism has been preached in the Saldus area since 1530 when a wooden church was erected. The church was renovated under the order of Duke Gothard Kettler in 1573. Using funds supplied by Duke Wilhelm, the manor in 1614-1615. Having endured several wars, the church was in critical condition by the second half on the 17th century and was rebuilt in the beginning of the 18th century on its current on the knoll next to Ciecere River.
The old church became too small to accommodate the growing prosperity of Saldus and a larger place of worship was required. The czar’s government would not allow the building of a new church and the old church was rebuilt and expanded in 1898-1899. The alter wall remained intact and the bell tower was raised and remodeled creating a triplet inlet basilica. The Riga architect, Wilhelm Neumann, planned the remodeling for the new church. Artist J. Rozentāls presented the church with his painting “Christ and the Woman from Samara”, but it was not accepted. Pastor Becker restored the existing alter painted, “Christ on the Cross”, painted by Julius Döring and based on a work created by Gustav Jäger. 
A construction flaw required yet further renovations in 1938, but during World War II, the tower was bombed and the roof was seriously damaged. Even through the post-war congregation was small, the church was restored. The most recent renovations to the church took place in 1994. During these renovations, burial sites were uncovered under the church floor. Parts of the old church are still intact, the pulpit dates from 1657, the reading deck 1777, the alter and painting by J. Döring dating from the second half the 19th century and the organ built by the master from Liepāja, C. A. Herrmann.
The Saldus Lutheran church is one of the most signification traditional examples of turn-of-the-century architecture.
Janis Rozentals pictured the church in many of his paintings at the turn of the 20th century. His diploma work, After the service, is particularly notable. 
Revised: 07/19/2013 – 01:23:00